Have you ever thought to yourself “what am I doing here”? It happens to travellers all the time, especially the more impulsive ones.
“Why am I standing in the middle of a rubbish dump in a small village in rural China”, “How did I end up stranded on this desert island when I'm supposed to be at University” and “How on Earth did I come to be on this tiny boat during the middle of a typhoon” are three instances which come to mind.
But it's not just the impulsive traveler who suffers from these malicious thoughts, if anything, the 9-5 office worker is far more likely to succumb. So to help you 9-5ers out there, here's my guide on how to to live an impulsive travellers life, without quitting your cubicle!
Fact: You can plan a bargain holiday in 3 days!
Tip 1: Be Flexible
If you want to get a good deal, you have to be flexible. If you've got an inflexible job, you've got to be flexible in your destination! Some of the greatest delights in travel, come from discovering totally obscure destinations. Even if the cheapest flights for your date are to somewhere unpronounceable in Eastern Europe (as they often are), go! Eastern Europe can be a delightful place, cheap too!
|The City of Tampere in Central Finland. You can often find bargain flights to places like this if you keep checking the websites of low fares airlines.|
Tip 2: Be Decisive
If you see a great last minute deal advertised at your local travel agents or online, get it, don't um and arr about it, if you're free just buy it! If you don't you'll regret it because you might not see another one like it! I still wish I'd bought a 14 day all inclusive holiday in Tunisia for £199 but I got caught up in Mass Hysteria! So.....
Tip 3: Don't succumb to mass hysteria
I know the news looks scary, but they only report the stuff that goes wrong. Wouldn't it be great if the news was just a dispassionate list of everything that happened in the world today!
“At 8:15 this morning, bus number 423 arrived safely at it's destination in Nairobi Kenya. In Sao Paulo, a little girl dropped her ice cream on the floor but her brother gave her his. At 8:45am (GMT), Mr and Mrs Patel of Bangalore, India had dinner at a new Pizza restaurant near their house, after being interviewed, Mrs Patel was quoted as saying “My husband and I had a wonderful time”!. In Vladivostok......”
|The crystal clear waters of Tunisia, nothing to worry about!|
You get my point. Mass hysteria is usually not worth getting caught up in but, there are exceptions, so...
Tip 4: Don't be stupid
If you're insurer or the Foreign Office advises you don't visit a country, such as Somalia, Afghanistan or Pakistan, don't go! There's a difference between not getting caught up in mass hysteria and down right stupidity!
Tip 5: Don't book a hotel
If you're making a last minute trip, the chances are it's low season. Remember, hotels in tourist towns, especially along the Mediterranean coast are dead in Low season. Once you arrive, you'll have hoteliers begging you to stay with them! Often you can haggle with them and get some truly great deals. I used to book everything, but on my trip to Egypt, I met some travelers who had booked a suite at a 5 star hotel for 50p a night. I couldn't believe I'd been duped into booking online, a room in a hostel for a whole £1 per night!
|Dahab, on Egypt's Red Sea coast during low season. Take your chances and show up on the day, the chances are you'll get an amazing deal!|
Get your travel money before you get to the Airport! A few years ago I went to the Czech Republic with a few friends. I planned ahead and bought my Czech Korunas but my friends didn't. At the airport as I answered natures call, my friends got ripped off at one of the change offices. To make matters worse, for some reason, the Czech barman just wouldn't accept their Euros!
|The Czech people decided not to adopt the Euro, so you need Korunas if you want to buy stuff there!|
Get some annual insurance, like now! I'm never without annual insurance because it means I can go anywhere whenever I want! I call it my impulse insurance!
Bring your luggage to work with you! If you've only got a weekend to get away, go straight to the airport when you clock off! You can sleep on the plane can't you? Doing this makes your trip seem so much longer and gives you the feeling of having an extra day. If your feeling really tough, get an early morning flight back and go straight back to work in your board shorts. I've done it before and will do it again!
Enjoy yourself! Don't be one of those insufferable tourists who constantly moans about everything!
“Why haven't they got Ketchup”, “There's too much garlic in the pasta”, “they don't even know how to cook chips proper!”, “why don't they speak English?”, “its too hot”, “its too cold”, “there's all sand in my shoes”, “ooh it's a bit pricey innit?”.
|The beautiful Costa Del Sol. Malaga (Pictured) is well stocked with ketchup!|
When things go wrong, I always treat it as a new experience, or at least something to write about, and I seem to have a much better time than many of the wingers I know.
I hope my little guide helps you escape monotony for less and without the need to plan too far ahead!
As they say here in China, Zha Yo!